How Did Kate Middleton Go From "Waity Katie" to Fairytale Princess?

Today Kate has the power to make a sick little girl's dreams come true.

By , Columnist

Todd Korol/Daily Mail

Six-year-old Diamond Marshall, a Canadian cancer patient, wrote a letter from her hospital bed, asking to meet Kate.

Never underestimate the power of a great dress. Kate Middleton's fashion choices got her started on the royal road and kept her there, pushing our psychological buttons all the way.

Prince William famously noticed his friend Kate in a new way when she sashayed down a fashion show runway in a see-through dress. The sexy dress launched the royal romance that endured through their undergraduate days and William's military training.

Kate meanwhile was working part-time in fashion accessories and for her parents. Dubbed "Waity Katie" by the British press, she seemed to center her life on a prince who was not ready to pop the question. Her public reputation slipped, with calls that she was a lightweight without a "proper job" and no real goal besides marriage.

Kate's deep blue Issa engagement dress instantly changed Kate's public image from Idle to Idol by linking her strongly to Princess Diana. The dress color matched Diana's own engagement announcement suit, recalling for the public the sweetness of Diana as an ingenue royal fiancee. The poignant sight of Diana's familiar sapphire engagement ring on Kate's hand was underlined because Kate's dress matched the blue of the central stone.

With these visual reminders of Diana, the Fairytale Princess of the late 20th century, Kate's transition from pretty girl to her own version of Fairytale Princess was well on its way.

The dress that sealed the deal for the world was Kate's wedding gown. This time her fashion reflected Princess Grace of Monaco, the mid-20th century Fairytale Princess. Grace Kelly's wedding gown was designed for her by MGM studio's Helen Rose, no mean hand at casting a spell, and it set off Grace's delicate elegance in a new and regal way. The iconic British royal wedding gowns of Queen Elizabeth, Princess Margaret, Princess Anne, and Princess Diana did not suit Kate's form and features. Kate's lacy Princess Grace-style wedding gown framed her and let her shine in the majestic gloom of Westminster Abbey. Emerging into the sunlight after the wedding, on the arm of her Disneyesque Prince Charming (whose face also functions as a constant reminder of Princess Diana), Kate's image was crystallized.

The public responded to these layers of association, and to the apparent good qualities of Kate as a human being, by elevating her to the status of Fairytale Princess, with all the benefits and responsibilities that entails. Fairytales are compelling, as psychoanalyst Carl Jung said, because of the archetypal figures who star in the stories. Kate's public image has now merged with the archetype of Princess, which on the one hand takes away her individuality, and on the other hand gives her potent psychological power. Today Kate has the power to make a little Canadian girl's dreams come true, with a smile and a touch.

View gallery: Waity Katie to Fairytale Princess

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Charlotte Germane dishes the dirt on gardening in newsletters, radio shows, newspapers, and blogs. Follow her on Twitter to get the latest trowel-full of news. She live-blogged the Royal Wedding for The Morton Report and has series of royalty columns here.

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